Story at a glance

  • The U.S. continues to see record numbers of cases as the omicron variant spreads rapidly.
  • Coronavirus cases are being detected on cruises, keeping some of the ships in port with passengers on board.
  • A collection of scenario models suggest that the omicron surge could peak by the end of January in the U.S.

On Monday, there were a record number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. at 1,082,549 new cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. This could partly be from delays in reporting during the holiday period. Currently, more than 103,000 people are hospitalized for COVID.

Cruises are centers of COVID outbreaks again

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are monitoring 88 vessels, according to NPR. For foreign flagged ships operating or planning to operate in the U.S., the CDC has a color coded system for coronavirus cases and ongoing investigations. Many on the list are currently yellow, meaning the number of COVID cases has reached a threshold for CDC investigation. There currently aren’t plans from the cruising companies to halt operations, and the CDC hasn’t announced any changes.

“CDC acknowledges that it is not possible for cruising to be a zero-risk activity,” CDC spokesperson Jasmine Reed said in an emailed statement to NPR.

On Monday, passengers on a cruise who were stuck in Lisbon for five days were able to disembark. There were at least 68 cases detected among the 1,353 crew and 2,844 passengers, according according to Reuters. Other ships in the Mediterranean and in India also reported cases recently. According to Cruise Industry News, 242 ships are set to sail this month alone.


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Some schools are delaying reopening

Many school districts around the country opened as planned this week after the holiday season. However, several chose to go to remote learning for a few days or longer as a response to the omicron surge. Schools in Cleveland, Atlanta and Newark plan to go fully remote for a week or longer.

In Chicago, school teachers are getting to vote on in-person learning. The teachers’ union in the city have expressed concerns over coronavirus protocols and the spread of infection in schools. The union proposed requiring negative tests for staff and students to return to school, according to The Washington Post.

Omicron surge could peak by end of January

The COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub produced an “emergency” round of analyses because of the rise of the omicron variant. Most of their models project that omicron may peak by the end of January in every state in the U.S. A proportion of the models project the peak to occur by the end of February. The time period of the projections ends in mid-March, when the models suggest cases, hospitalizations and deaths will have subsided but will be higher than they were during June 2021 (the lowest point during the pandemic).


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Published on Jan 04, 2022